Each year we are reminded in a special way about the love of the Lord for us in the solemnity of the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. The holy sacrifice of the mass and our participation in receiving the Body and Blood each Sunday is remembered and celebrated in a special way this day.
In the Catechism paragraph 1381 we hear from two great saints these words of wisdom about the Eucharist: “That in this sacrament are the true Body of Christ and his true Blood is something that ‘cannot be apprehended by the senses,’ says St. Thomas, ‘but only by faith, which relies on divine authority.’ For this reason, in a commentary on Luke 22:19 (‘This is my body which is given for you.’), St. Cyril says: ‘Do not doubt whether this is true, but rather receive the words of the Savior in faith, for since he is the truth, he cannot lie.'”
Our faith teaches that each time we come to mass, at the words of consecration, remembering takes place when we hear the words of Jesus repeated and reenacted in the sacrifice of the mass.
In the sacrament of the Eucharist Jesus gives us his love in a beautiful way by sacrificing his body and blood for us. This should mean so much to us as Catholic Christians that we should desire to receive the Eucharist as often as possible.
On Sunday we are able to receive the body and blood, and we should do so. We need to eat and drink each day, don’t we? So why not receive both species at mass as often as possible, when both species are available for us?
The Eucharist is also food and drink for our daily journey in life. Today we might wonder why some of our family members no longer come to mass and why they don’t realize what they are missing. Invite them back to mass and back to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus next Sunday.
We pray that today we will leave after mass, refreshed by what we have received and be more prepared than ever to share our faith in the Eucharist with everyone that we encounter this week and for the rest of our lives.
After Pentecost we get to celebrate the great mystery of the Feat of the Holy Trinity. This Feast once again challenges us to ask this question: “Who is God for us? What are his roles in our lives? One answer we do have from this celebration is that God is love; God is relation and community which is the only way he reveals himself to us. God can easily be known through and experienced in family, in the parish community and also in our group of friends because God is truly unity in the diversity. The true sense of the Trinity is being celebrated every day in our parish with the diversity of cultures confessing one faith and sharing one baptism in the Lord Jesus Christ. At this great Feast, we have been called to rediscover the presence of our God in our lives and to ask ourselves where exactly God fit in our lives. The first big project is the renovation of the Parish Hall. For those who have seen the Hall recently, it is very obvious that there is a great need to do some major repairs and upgrades and even to bring to code some areas. The hall is a great asset for the school and has been used for different purposes. For the restoration, the school was able to secure from two different Foundations an amount of $200,000.00. The total cost for the restoration will be $368,482.00 not including a new AC Unit and new furniture.
The second project is the installation of New Roofs at Four buildings: the Church, Cafeteria, Saint Joseph House (Old Convent), and the School Offices. All these roofs were damaged by hurricane Irma in 2017 and are covered under the insurance however our deductible will be $143,600.00. As stewards of your generosity, the finance council and I want to assure you of how careful we are in handling the day to day finances of the parish. For this reason, I decided to present to you today these projects that we are going to undertake and hope you can generously help us to cover part of the cost for the remaining balance we have to pay out of pocket.
Even though most of you might have an idea of our financial situation, it is imperative for me to assure you of my commitment to carry out my responsibility to the highest standards of accountability. I am very aware of the sacrifices you have made to provide generously for the parish in order to fulfill the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to the people entrusted to our care. I wish these projects will resonate with you since they are some type of urgency for our parish. I anticipate thanking you for your support and comprehension. I pray that God our Father will grant you and your families his countless blessing.
How beautiful it is to celebrate today the Feast of the Pentecost together with all of you. This celebration is a great reminder to each of us about the gift of the Holy Spirit that has been given to us for the benefit of the church community. As we look at the dynamics of our parish in this ambiance of Pentecost, we have countless things and achievements that we are very grateful for. But as you can imagine we never stop working to improve our facilities in order to be able to carry out our mission. On the occasion of the Feast of Pentecost, I want to take this opportunity to share with you some projects that are undertaken.
The first big project is the renovation of the Parish Hall. For those who have seen the Hall recently, it is very obvious that there is a great need to do some major repairs and upgrades and even to bring to code some areas. The hall is a great asset for the school and has been used for different purposes. For the restoration, the school was able to secure from two different Foundations an amount of $200,000.00. The total cost for the restoration will be $368,482.00 not including a new AC Unit and new furniture.
The second project is the installation of New Roofs at Four buildings: the Church, Cafeteria, Saint Joseph House (Old Convent), and the School Offices. All these roofs were damaged by hurricane Irma in 2017 and are covered under the insurance however our deductible will be $143,600.00. As stewards of your generosity, the finance council and I want to assure you of how careful we are in handling the day to day finances of the parish. For this reason I decided to present to you today these projects that we are going to undertake and hope you can generously help us to cover part of the cost for the remaining balance we have to pay out of pocket.
Even though most of you might have an idea of our financial situation, it is imperative for me to assure you of my commitment to carry out my responsibility to the highest standards of accountability. I am very aware of the sacrifices you have made to provide generously for the parish in order to fulfill the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to the people entrusted to our care. I wish these projects will resonate with you since they are some type of urgency for our parish. I anticipate thanking you for your support and comprehension. I pray that God our Father will grant you and your families his countless blessings.
This Sunday. we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord and Mother’s Day on the same day. What a great way to celebrate our faith with two persons that mean so much to us as Christians—Jesus and our mothers. Before the Lord ascended into heaven he told his disciples that he wanted them to share the good news, the gospel. He also told them that they needed to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. In other words, he wanted them to continue his mission around the world. We are also called to reach out to others and witness to them by our lives as Christians.
The awesome thing for us is that we have some great tools at our disposal, but are we using them to their fullest potential? Do we use Facebook, or Twitter, or email or texts to share the Gospel? If not, why not start today, for through these media we can reach the ends of the world, not just our local community.
Mothers have been called to be disciples and teachers within their families as well as examples to others through their lives as Christians. They have a great role model in the Blessed Mother. Motherhood is not an easy vocation, and some mothers are better prepared than others to do well as mothers. Whenever a mother feels inadequate, she should turn to Mary in prayer and ask her for help.
On this Ascension Sunday, may we reflect on the times that we have not been the best example to others and resolve to do better. Like the Apostles, we have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit and we have been given these gifts for a purpose. May we be encouraged for the rest of 2018 to use our gifts, to share the gospel with others, and be witnesses to the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On this Third Sunday of Easter, we hear in our second reading from the first letter of St. John that Jesus is expiation for our sins and for those of the whole world and that we can know the Lord by keeping his commandments. St. John also says “those who say ‘I know him’ but do not keep his commandments are liars and the truth is not in them”. We need to keep the ten commandments and all the teachings of Jesus and of the Church in our minds and in our hearts as we lead our lives daily in this world. Saint John’s words are quite direct, but sometimes we need to hear such language to set us on the path of repentance and forgiveness.
Last week , we heard the gospel account from John 20 about Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles and disciples who were hiding for fear of the same fate as Jesus. Today we hear the account from Luke 24 and Jesus tells them that “repentance , for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations.”
Repentance and forgiveness are not always the easiest topics for us as human beings. Our conscience may tell us clearly that we have sinned, but we may be too stubborn to listen to our conscience and therefore too stubborn to repent and change our ways. God is always willing to forgive us our sins, we just need to repent and seek his forgiveness.
The Catechism, paragraph 1431 describes interior repentance as “a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one’s life, with hope in God’s mercy and trust in the help of his grace.” This is what the Lord wants for all of us so he can forgive us and we can start anew.
P.S. I apologize for this being only in English this week.
On this 4th Sunday of Easter, Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd, the Messiah, ready to lay down his life for his sheep. He knows his sheep and they know him. This is all part of God’s plan of salvation. Jesus chooses to lay down his life in obedience to the Father’s plan. The people who hate him and persecute him are just part of the plan and the irony is that they do not even realize it.
The Lord is our shepherd, our leader. We, the sheep, the followers need to be tuned in to His voice and what he has to tell us, as Christians. The Holy Spirit guides our way and protects us from evil, just like the shepherds of old.
In the modern Church we have pastors who take care of their flock, their parishioners. They are leaders who are responsible for caring for the needs of their people—they are shepherds of people. The Bishop carries a crosier or staff that represents a “shepherd’s crook” –used by shepherds to save sheep that have fallen.
Our modern day shepherds have a great responsibility and we ask the Lord to guide each of them and protect them and keep them on the right path as His shepherds in His Church.
Through the light of this Paschal Season the church invites us on this Second Sunday of Easter to celebrate today the Divine Mercy Sunday. This paschal activity is overwhelming by the incredulous story of the apparition of Jesus to the Apostles as it is revealed in John Gospel about the gathering of the first community experiencing the Presence of the Risen Lord. The story, from the empty tomb experiences of the women to the first encounter of Jesus with the disciples after the resurrection where he has comforted them with these words “Peace be with you” is perfectly counted by many.
It is very consoling to see the first words Jesus spoke after the resurrection to his coward friends are words of Peace. A word that is being repeated again and again in today’s Gospel. The first gift given by the Risen Lord to the Apostles who have been scattered and overpowered by fear is the gift of Peace. I am just guessing about the face of Peter, James and John when they saw him. Of course they were overjoyed and exited about the surprise. How he always love to surprise us in our lives? The gift of peace has been given to them in spite of their own unworthiness and imperfections just to help them to make room in their hearts and enable them to go out and share the message of mercy to others.
After suffering, doubt, pain etc. comes always joy. The Risen Lord brings to us that joy. He is the true source of our joy and comfort. He is the source of our hope and our faith. Talking about faith here we are with Thomas at the center of a little controversy about the type of knowledge that can prove to him that it truly happens and He is truly Risen. Thomas is asking for some proof, not only a simple proof but I would like to name it like that an awakening call. Thomas makes the front page like anybody else who is looking for proof. In many cases of faith, references have been made through perceptible experiences using our senses. But for others it could be different. For instance, in the first letter of John we read: “Everyone who believes that Jesus is Christ is begotten by God, a very and distinguished form of knowledge that has been instilled by God through a personnel encounter with Him. So being said, Faith in the Risen Lord must have to be the fruit of a great encounter and a personal experience with Jesus.
The narrative of the Gospel shows again Thomas’ reaction. He did not believe, he is asking for a sign or a personal proof which could be understood and of course make sense for him. How Thomas’ situation is unique? How many of us are asking for a sign to believe in Jesus? How many of us are not believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist? The greatest lesson for us is this: “The best way to have faith in the Risen Lord it is not through extraordinary signs or proof rather through a vivid and living testimony within the Christian community. We do not have to look for sign we must become the sign.
Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance? This sentence form Mark’s Gospel for this Easter Sunday gets my attention. It was the biggest preoccupation of the brave women who have decided very early in the morning to take the road and go to pay their respect to Jesus at the burial place. Surprise, surprise! Ups, this is Easter! Alleluia, Christ is risen. This is the message that has been transmitted to them by an Angel of God. Christ is risen from the dead. The stone of death has been rolled over by the mighty hands of God the Father. These women have a serious situation to unfold or to let unfold for them and for others. This is the Good News they have been called to share.
This Good News has been transmitted to all of us more than 2000 years ago and consequently we keep moving forward because of the devotion and dedication of many wonderful men and women of faith and filled of hope. It seems things have been cleared up for the brave women to fade away their legitimate inquietude and fear, to make room for something more powerful that is to become the herald of the message of the resurrection.
Mark’s Gospel mentioned that the women were amazed by what they saw on entering the tomb and were very perplexed by the message they heard from the young man sitting there. “You seek Jesus the crucified, he is not here.” He is not in the tomb. It’s like the messenger was telling them, you see the tomb, but don’t stay here, go and go to Galilee. I just want to mention something about Galilee. Galilee is where everything started. It was where the mission began and flourished tremendously. And Jerusalem in kind is where the mission collapsed. It is like the cemetery. If everything is ended at the cemetery in our culture, however, Mark’s Gospel shows us that everything begins at the cemetery when he said to the women “Go and tell the disciples and Peter, He is going before you to Galilee, there you will see him, as he told you”. The empty tomb is not the main focus, though powerful as it could be but the main message is Jesus the Risen Lord.
This gathering today on this Easter Sunday it is about Jesus, the Risen Lord who destroys death to forgive our sins and the sins of the world. Who will roll over the rock for us? This question paradoxically indicates that there are many obstacles that hinder our lives; many barriers that separate us from the reality of the resurrection. Only God can do that. Only God can take the yoke of death from our shoulders. The slain Lamb of God, the Risen Lord comes into our lives to tear down everything that can prevent us from experiencing fully the love of God the Father in our lives. So today on this Easter Sunday may we be set free from any type of bondage as we sing the new song Alleluia to Jesus, The Risen Lord and Savior.
For the reflection this weekend, I would like to start exploring through the liturgical texts the great desire of God for humanity. It seems very obvious that the Old and the New Testament both offered the same vision of this great desire. I can in some words say that: the Great Desire or the great project of God for humanity is to bring salvation to every men and women.
Most of the Texts of the Ancient Tradition have proven the truthfulness of this fact. For instance, the book of Chronicles which we have a chance to read today, is part of a series of narrative that reenacts past events that happened in Israel, though described disastrous events but also offered a glimpse of God’s kindness and faithfulness to his promise to the people. God always intervene just to save. The word save/salvation is the key word for us today. It seems the story shows us the risks that people have taken in keeping God out of their existence but in spite of all God finds a way to settle things much better for us because his love is eternal.
The language for this 2018 Lenten journey is: God is love and merciful. This message is carried out also by Saint Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. God always come to save. “God is rich in mercy” said Paul, because of that we have life in Him through Jesus Christ and we have been saved. God is graciously crazy about us; this is the best way we can put. So, salvation is the only response to our sins and wrongdoing.
The same idea has been related in this famous passage from Saint John Gospel where we found some expressions like: “everyone who believes has eternal life, those who believe might not perish, whoever believes will not be condemned, and whoever lives in the truth comes to the light”. All these expressions synchronize well the whole idea of our redemption by Christ Jesus who shows us through the Cross how far God can go to rescue us and gave us new. With our eyes turn toward God during this Lenten journey, let us once again make room in our heart for a better understanding of this merciful love offered to us.
My dear brothers and sisters, we are already on the third week of Lent. Many of us are trying to do our best to fulfill our Lenten observances to be able to experience the great intimacy with God. Deep inside of us, we might continue to face our shame and confusion of our own brokenness or the Church, and the world brokenness, but the whole point it is not about our scuffling about it rather moving more deeply toward intimacy with God. That intimacy is still possible as we move forward on this third week to seek for the signs offered by Jesus. It is very impressive to see that the tone for this Sunday begins by the teaching of the Ten Commandments which can be seen as a great sign of freedom and liberty, based on a reminder of what God has done for us.
We could peremptorily admit that the law is a first sign we have for this third week of Lent. It is remarkable to observe that the caricature of the law begins by a great reminder of the Shema Israel based on what God has done for his people and not in any legislative words of obligations. Obviously, it is about a law of freedom and liberty that can help us to create a better atmosphere among the community because God loves all of us and wants all of us to be saved. As evidence that we accept and understand this great sign that is the law, our response by observing it must be the only way to show our adhesion and loyalty to God.
The second sign for this third week of Lent is the Cross. It appears very clearly in the second reading from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians when Paul spoke about Christ crucified. For Paul, God has revealed himself on the Cross. So the unimaginable character of the Cross makes it the most significant sign for Christianity. God has revealed his redemptive and sanctifying action on the Cross. The cross has said everything about God and the salvation of humankind. It is Saint Ignatius who said: “Praying before the crucifix, we are invited to contemplate the love of God revealed through Jesus’ Cross”. And in the face of such love, we ask: What I have done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What do I do for Christ? Through the Cross, Christ teaches us everything.
The third sign for this third week of Lent is obviously from the Gospel: “The Temple”. Through a very different way Jesus claims the true authenticity of the Temple which is the house of God. The Temple symbolizes the presence of God in the midst of humanity. Due to that fact, we must approach the Temple with respect and reverence. Through his actions, Jesus has invited us to keep the distance from anything that drew attention away from the great treasure that the Temple represents for us human beings. This is also a way to help us to understand, how important it is to keep our attention always on God and to stay away from all type of distractions that surrounding us. It seems to me that all these signs are in perfect motion with the great spirituality of Lent ,and can help us to foster the approach of our Lenten journey.